Top US Think Tank Urges Trump to Back Israeli Sovereignty Extension to Jordan Valley
A prominent US think tank released a report on Friday urging the Trump administration to support an extension of Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank’s Jordan Valley region.
“US national security interests would be well served if Israel enshrined its permanent control of the Jordan Valley by acting now to extend its sovereignty there,” the overview of the report — published by the Washington, DC-based Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) — said. “This will boost the security of Israel, as well as Jordan, two pivotal American allies in the region.”
“As the United States seeks to reduce its presence in an increasingly chaotic Middle East, Israel has stepped up its efforts to hold back the growing disorder, in the process protecting not just itself but regional partners like Jordan and Gulf Arab states,” it added. “To play this role effectively, however, Israel must remain secure. The Jordan Valley serves as a defensive buffer protecting Israel against attacks from the east, including from Iran and its proxies. The Valley also protects the West Bank from terrorist infiltration, and Jordan from potential instability or hostility originating from the West Bank or elsewhere.”
In a statement, JINSA President and CEO Michael Makovsky said the “strategic benefits for Israel, Jordan and the United States outweigh any real but ultimately temporary costs” of sovereignty extension.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set July 1 as the date for the start of cabinet deliberations on extending sovereignty to West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.
Trump administration officials met in Washington, DC, this week to discuss whether to green light such a move. No final decision was reached.
Under the Trump administration’s proposed Middle East peace plan, 30% of the West Bank — including the settlements and the Jordan Valley — would remain part of Israel.
Israel took control of the West Bank from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War.
The Palestinians — who seek statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with a capital in East Jerusalem — have rejected the US peace initiative outright, accusing the Trump administration of pro-Israel bias.
Jordanian King Abdullah II has recently been lobbying against the potential Israeli annexation move, warning it would lead to a “massive conflict.”
There has long been a broad consensus within Israel — going back to the Allon Plan — that some form of control over the Jordan Valley should be maintained in any permanent peace arrangement with the Palestinians, while views on what to do with the settlements in the rest of the West Bank are less uniform.